Phillip Cocu says Tom Lawrence’s contribution for Derby County both in and out of possession should not be underestimated.

Lawrence scored both goals at Pride Park Stadium, and produced a Man of the Match display, as Cocu’s side ran out 2-0 winners against Middlesbrough last Saturday.

The Welsh international forward’s two-goal haul took him to five for the season for the Rams and he was also close to netting a hat-trick in the closing stages.

Cocu believes the 25-year-old is in good form ahead of this weekend’s visit to local rivals Nottingham Forest.

“Tom was very close to his hat-trick, but I was happy with two for him,” said Cocu during his post-match press conference following the win over Middlesbrough.

“He is eager for the next game too to (possibly) find the net again.

Cocu insists Lawrence’s work on and off the ball is key for Derby.

He plays an important role going forward and is on course for his best goalscoring season for the club.

Lawrence hit scored six times in each of his first two seasons at Pride Park, but he already has five goals from 13 appearances this term.

Cocu said: “I have to say, of course with two goals in a 2-0 win, everybody is focused on his performance and he did play very well on Saturday.

“The last couple of games he also played very good.

“I think he is in a very strong and good moment, not only when we have ball possession because we cannot underestimate the work he does for the team when we don’t have the ball.

“He is important in our organisation and in our creative part of football. That makes me really happy for him and he gave us two good goals last weekend.”